Marine Conservation Scientist
Nesha Ichida is an Indonesian marine conservation scientist working under Thrive Conservation with a primary focus in elasmobranch research and conservation, marine protected areas and community-based marine conservation in Eastern Indonesia. She is the Program Manager for the Rote Project, a holistic conservation project focusing on creating island-level resiliency through MPA management, threatened marine megafauna monitoring, local community outreach and livelihood development in the southernmost island of Indonesia, Rote Island. She is also the Indonesia Program Manager and Co-Chair of the Steering Committee for the StAR Project (ReShark), a multi-national collaborative project aiming to repopulate Raja Ampat with zebra sharks (Stegostoma tigrinum) through translocation of egg cases bred from chosen broodstock at accredited aquariums.
I’m currently working at two ends of the conservation spectrum in terms of conservation implementation; in Raja Ampat, I’m working in an area where conservation initiatives are well-established and we’re able to focus on a novel approach to recovering a heavily depleted species, while in Rote Island, I’m in the initial stage of conservation where I’m still working to convince communities of the importance of their marine ecosystems. Through the StAR Project, I was able to co-lead a coalition of stakeholders extending from NGOs, government, public aquarium and other local partners in 13 countries to implement the world’s first translocation project of an endangered shark species in Raja Ampat. As a world first, we are continuously pushing the boundary in scientific methods for monitoring released shark pups, creativity in sharing the project’s story, and engaging more young Indonesian scientists to lead research projects within our initiative.
“I believe in the importance of empowering young local conservation leaders in the communities where I’m focused.“
Through the Rote Project, I’m empowering a team of young local conservationists to co-create a holistic conservation project centering around education, science, and community development, essentially turning Rote Island into an innovation hub of island resiliency from climate change. These two projects are providing me with a wealth of complementary experiences that I hope to be able to apply to further initiatives over the course of my career. I believe in the importance of empowering young local conservation leaders in the communities where I’m focused, and by doing such, I’m confident we’ll see significant improvements in the marine biodiversity of Rote Island and Raja Ampat, and other areas in Indonesia where I or my mentored conservation leaders will eventually work.